Vickless a key offensive weapon for Brentwood
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Brentwood lost 10 starters to graduation from last year's WPIAL Class A playoff team.
However, the 2013 squad is anchored by a trio of returning senior all-conference players in Justin Vickless, Josh Gallagher and Jeremy Cenci.
After bursting onto the scene as a freshman in 2010, Vickless, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound running back/defensive back, has been a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the past two seasons.
He accounted for 1,648 yards in total offense in 2012 and, for the second year in a row, led the Spartans in rushing, with 1,521 yards and 18 touchdowns; receiving, with 15 receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns; and scoring, with 21 touchdowns.
Vickless, who has a 4.6 time in the 40 and has scored 50 career touchdowns, needs only 67 yards to reach the 3,000-yard mark in career rushing.
“He's the key to our team. We'll be featuring him,” coach Kevin Kissel said. “We cannot afford to lose him. We have to keep him healthy all year.
“He's shown great improvement in the weight room. It's going to be a big year for him. We need for him to have a big year.”
Vickless is receiving college interest from several Division I-FCS schools.
Gallagher is a 6-2, 240-pound offensive lineman/middle linebacker, and a third-year starter at right tackle.
“He's a pretty big kid, We're going to need him to go both ways for us,” Kissel said. “He's tough. We're expecting a big year from him.”
Cenci is a 5-11, 200-pound center/middle linebacker. He is a third-year starter and was considered an “unsung” player for the Spartans last season.
“(Cenci) had a great year. He played just about every play offensively for us,” Kissel said. “Without pads, he looks like a running back. He's a great technician. He has a strong lower body.”
A key newcomer to the starting lineup is Connor McWilliams, a 6-2, 185-pound sophomore quarterback.
McWilliams is taking over for the graduated Chris Shortley, who passed for 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
“Connor's big kid. He really grew in the offseason,” Kissel said. “He's making some big strides. He has a good arm, a strong arm. He can stand back there in the pocket.”
McWilliams and Vickless will be joined in the backfield by senior Ryan Shortley and junior Bill Madeja, who will share time at fullback.
David Bushman is a senior tight end, while senior Jack Murano and sophomore Pat Carr are wide receivers.
“(Carr) is a track guy. He's one of the fastest kids on the team,” Kissel said.
Across the offensive line, the starters are Gallagher, at right tackle; junior Brendan Mulholland, at right guard; Cenci, at center; junior Tyler Stadelman, at left guard; and junior Cody Conroy, at left tackle.
Conroy, an imposing 6-7, 220-pound lineman, is the half-brother of former Brentwood tight end star Mike Kish, now a freshman at Akron.
“Conroy could be a big part of our team,” Kissel said. “He can run; we need him to go both ways.”
Most of the starters on offense also will have integral roles on defense.
“It looks like they will flip around,” Kissel said. “The more guys we have play, the better we'll be as a team.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Size up front a boost for Deer Lakes
- Birdie says heat is on for another season of football picks
- Burrell looks to rebound from winless season
- From football savvy to smarts, Freeport’s Thimons seems to have it all
- Fox Chapel hopes to establish run game under Loughran
- Kiski Area leaders provide silver lining after winless season
- Gorman: Scouts won’t forget Paris
- Veterans to help transition for new QB at Redbank Valley
- Unsung heroes step up for Knoch
- HSFB preview by position: Ball-hawk safeties pace top defenses
- Brown to carry load for Apollo-Ridge